"There are some people you'll never see again. At least not in the same way."
-via I Wrote This for You, Iain S. Thomas
A/N: Sorry for the wait, lovelies. Hope you enjoy it!
London, July 1982
Remus was never one to miss appointments. It was discourteous and inconsiderate of the person's time, and there was no telling what kind of opportunities he could miss out on by being just five minutes late. The only time he could remember being inexcusably tardy was Harry's birth, a vague and cloudy memory that flashed behind his eyes in dreams. Perhaps it was valid; one doesn't just flake out on his best friend's delivery. But Remus did.
And Remus was late today, as well. Not by five minutes or even ten. No, Remus had all but squandered his chance for an interview at Cambridge University. With summer traffic and rolling blackouts across the city, Remus checked his watch to find he'd been over an hour late to his appointment. It wasn't too important, like an academic interview or one for a teaching position. He didn't have the proper credentials for that, apparently. There were pros and cons for getting a Hogwarts degree; nevertheless, it doesn't substitute a Muggle diploma.
Still, he sighed; this job seemed like a dream come true for him. It had been Misses Grimes who referred him. The old woman had finally shut down the emporium and moved back to France with one of her sisters. She'd offered to split the money with Remus, a special 'thank you' she couldn't afford before the foreclosure, but he denied her. Taking money from Misses Grimes felt like a betrayal he'd never recover from; for all but two years, she'd kept Remus employed and paid him well enough. Despite his chronic absentness and poor disposition, never once did she threaten to terminate him. Maybe it was her soft spot, or perhaps she could tell his heart was shattered?
Whatever the case had been, Remus's time spent with Matilda Grimes would never be forgotten. Especially since she'd gotten him an interview with her grandson, the assistant library and hiring director at Cambridge University. It was a daunting title coupled with all of his degrees and honors. Not to mention his brief deployment in the Falkland Wars. All of those accomplishments and awards, and this man was only three years Remus's senior. To be late for a man like this made Remus want to cry and throw up, but there was no time to do that here.
London was blistering. The city's power grid flickered on and off over a week, leaving smaller villages in the rural outskirts without power. The urban areas were frenetic and panicked; heat-induced strokes occurred left and right, water supplies were lowered, and a drought loomed near. The frenzy reminded him of a year back in the school era. James, Peter, and Sirius were strolling with Remus, looking for something or someone. The sun was festering like a sore in the sky, and the boys thought they could keel over and die.
The feeling returned that week; there was a joke about an astronomy tower he'd once heard from a friend. Remus wished he could remember it.
As a blackout stretched on, Remus finally decided on walking to the University. The underground carried him as far as it could, and he made his way through city streets and crowds like a ghost. The ground wasn't as eye-catching as it used to be, and Remus allowed his eyes to skim the heads of the mob around him. The day was beautiful—nothing but blue skies and chirping birds. If only it weren't so bloody hot!
In the distance, Remus could catch a glimpse of the monolithic University in all of its glory. Nostalgically, it reminded him of Hogwarts. The same architectural style, molding, and statues. In that, the vines crept up walls in silence, and moss blossomed at the base of columns. Feet clamored across the stone walkways, and students chatted with each other in a daze. Remus could hardly imagine a school group without robes or uniforms, but it had appeared that classes had been canceled for the day. Students galivanted around campus in their casuals—jeans and t-shirts—just enjoying the sun.
Remus envied their lazy gestures and calm nature. The damning thought that Dr. Grimes would be long gone from the library by this hour haunted Remus as he dashed through hallways and corridors. He'd never been to Cambridge before, never thought for one second that those walls would ever surround his humble beginnings. Yet, there he stood—a sweat-soaked mess who was lost in this maze of a school.
A young woman passed him, and he took the opportunity to ask, "Excuse me, ma'am! Where would the library be?"
She blinked a few times, clearly petrified of Remus. Who could blame her, he thought with bittersweet humor. He was a six-foot-five man with ragged clothes and scars from head to toe. For all she knew, he could be an escaped convict. Although, he lacked tattoos.
"Take a left down this corridor and go down the stairs," she said. "You can't miss the entrance once you're down there."
Remus smiled, a final attempt to ease her wariness, "Thank you! Thank you so much."
Without another word or thought for the young lady, Remus broke out in a sprint to the library. Minutes were passing by—precious minutes that had been wasted due to this damn sun. He couldn't help but harp on it; his record for punctuality had never been tarnished. Call him a brown-nose, excluding other reasons why it might be so, but impressions were everything!
The woman was correct; the entrance to the library was unmistakable. A grand alter stretched above him, coming to the perfect, curved point twenty feet above him. It was unlike anything he'd ever seen before; the soft, delicate lighting from the stained glass, warm air spilling from cracked windows, and floating dust pulled Remus in. It was hardly a bother that the glare from summer was even more intolerable in the library because he was finally here.
Shelves upon shelves, racks upon racks of books multiplied across the stone floors. Some were tall—taller than the shelves at Hogwarts—and others sat closer to the ground, displaying first editions. Remus carefully navigated through tables and stands, eyes fixated on artifacts and withered pages. It was absolute heaven; if he died right then and there, Remus would've been a decently happy man. Surrounded by nothing but knowledge and prose, how couldn't he have been ecstatic.
The recollection, however, of his missed interview resurfaced, and the chambers of his heart fractured dismally. To think, this could have been his life. The books, the poetry, the stories, the history—all of it at his disposal. Yet, now it was out of reach.
"You must be Mr. Lupin," someone called.
Remus's senses told him it came from above, the way the echoes bounced from the floor rather than the walls. In the tone, its subtle condescending manner. Remus scanned the second floor's catwalk, unable to make out a figure until one jutted out against the background of faded leather bindings. A young man, a man who could just as easily pass for a teenager, draped himself across the guard rails with such elegance and grace it made Remus melt.
"Well," the man urged, quirking up the corner of his mouth in an attractive smirk. "Are you the gentleman my grandmother won't stop talking about? Because you look like him."
There was something familiar in this man, in how he spoke to Remus as if he already knew the answer to the questions he asked. The way he dragged his grey eyes up and down Remus's figure not just once, not just twice, but three times for good measure. The way he smirked down at this strange man, lips pink and plump, wet from saliva. Of course, Remus didn't doubt that this was Dr. Grimes, esteemed grandson of his former employer, but that didn't matter.
He was riveting, Remus thought.
The world seemed to set back on Remus's shoulders, and he pulled a coherent thought together so as not to embarrass himself further, "Y-Yes! I apologize for my lateness. The underground was stopped due to all of the—"
"Oh, please," Dr. Grimes waved a haphazard hand. "We all run behind schedule every now and again."
Remus, thankful that his interviewer was closer in age to him and understanding, let out a sigh of relief, allowing a smile to take over the worrying nibbling on his lips. Dr. Grimes was on his way down a set of spiral stairs, holding tightly to the middle rail as he nearly swung himself over the edge. Remus observed and noted the languid movement, the careless and almost fluid rise and fall of his chest. Still, it was familiar.
"I know, but I'm nearly an hour late," Remus continued his explanation. "It's not like me too—"
Dr. Grimes had come closer now, the light of the sun and lamps now illuminating his figure fully. If Remus dressed his best, Dr. Grimes put him to shame. The director sauntered over the seeming miles between them with steady, calculated steps in a flattering blush, three-piece suit. Remus caught a tuft of chest hair poking through the unbuttoned shirt beneath his vest, curly and brown. Sweat beaded over his cream skin, glistening with every breath and chuckle. He was just at Remus's eye level, tall and broad, unlike him. His muscles were bursting, even as they were hidden beneath several layers of fabric, and the way his trousers hugged his chiseled thighs made Remus shudder with anticipation.
God, he needed a good shag.
"I told you, Mr. Lupin," Dr. Grimes said, offering a warm and taunting smile, "it happens to the best of us. To be completely honest, I hadn't even noticed you were late until you came in like a wild animal in heat."
Remus flinched at the comment, unsure which part of it to unpack first. The days of over-sensitivity to animal comparisons had thinned over time, making him less vulnerable to shame and embarrassment. Though, it kept him on edge. But Remus on heat? Was it that noticeable? Damn, he hadn't gotten the chance to make himself look presentable before he was bombarded by this... this man. Because that's all he was, Remus reminded himself. Not a Greecian God or a Roman effigy. Just a standard, good-looking, intelligent man that wore pink really fucking well.
"Um," Remus couldn't break eye contact, and Dr. Grimes didn't seem to be keen on breaking it either. "Your grandmother is quite lovely, Dr. Grimes."
The man laughed, a deep and hearty laugh that echoed across the library, "Please, Mr. Lupin, call me Hugo."
Hugo Grimes. Remus repeated the name in his head, ignoring the near-obsessive nature of this thought. It was such a lovely name. If only Remus knew how to flirt without coming across as either desperate or just pathetic. Was Hugo even gay? Lily could always tell those sorts of things, though her aid wasn't exactly an option at that point. Was it appropriate to ask your boss if he was... gay? Wait, this was his possible future employer. Making moves on the grandson of your former employer had to be against some clause in the contract, did it not?
"Then I insist on you calling me Remus," Remus smiled, outstretching his hand and hoping to God Hugo would grasp it.
Hugo cocked his head to the side, his stare lingering on Remus's scars. It didn't feel prying or intimidating, only that Hugo was sizing him up. What did he think of Remus? What was going through his head as he pondered this handshake?
After a moment's pause, Hugo finally said, "Wolf Wolf?"
Remus faltered, fighting the urge to flee from panic, "Excuse me?"
Could Hugo have been a wizard? An implant from the Ministry of Magic to capture him and stop him from living everyday life. It wouldn't have been the first time they crushed every hope and dream within him; who's to say that Hugo wasn't a Wolf himself. Wouldn't that have been something?
He's not, the Wolf clarified.
"Your names mean Wolf," Hugo snickered, finally shaking Remus's hand. It was a firm grip, one that nearly clasped to his wrist. Hugo was warm, and not just from the heat outside. The blood rushing within him was fiery. "Interesting choice. Now, why don't we grab some lunch and start your interview?"
Hugo had already begun walking toward out of the library, blazer thrown over his shoulder and hair pushed far from his face, "I'm starving! We've got to get some grub. My treat."
Remus wondered how professional this was. Although, he wasn't hired yet, and plenty of employers held interviews over a meal. It wasn't as if it were a date; Remus was starting to get ahead of himself. It was the middle of a hot summer's day, and there was not a reason in the world they couldn't get a bite to eat. If he were honest, the edge of hunger was growing more potent in the pit of his stomach. This was his chance to impress Hugo and land this job.
"Alright," he agreed, following Hugo through the twisting hallways of Cambridge.
"So," Hugo said with a hand over his mouth to stop his sandwich bits from flying everywhere, "tell me a little bit about yourself, Remus."
Remus sighed, swallowing a mouthful of hot tea. The café Hugo had chosen was gorgeous; positioned on the upper side of London, overlooking the cityscape and bustling life, was the Varsity Roof Terrace. Obviously for the more wealthy, this café burst at the seams with eccentric guests and meal options. Half of the items Remus couldn't pronouce, though Hugo claimed to be a regular. With that in mind, Remus left it to him to order their food. He chose, of course, traditionally French meals, and Remus had to fight for a cup of tea instead of coffee.
"I'm from a small town named Clovelly, though my family relocated to Walter's Ash when I was around five or six," Remus recalled.
Hugo waited, eyes prompting Remus to continue on, but the latter realized there was too much intertwined with magic to tell. Most of his life had been spent as a dark creature, isolated from other children his age and left to grow up by himself. If it wasn't that, it was the escapades he hardly remembered at Hogwarts with the boys. All of whom he either didn't remember or couldn't stand at the present moment. So, what did he tell him?
"What were your years at Hogwarts like," Hugo finally asked.
Remus choked, eyes wide and focused on that smug look. It wasn't pride or unabashed confidence that coated Hugo's expression, rather a cunning and impish sneer.
"You're a wizard," Remus whispered, allowing himself a moment to lean closer to Hugo.
The vibration in his chest grew more robust, the heat in his ears turning his skin pink. Hugo must've pretended not to notice and leaned in with Remus over their plates and saucers.
"Was once," he shrugged, looking deeply into Remus's eyes. "I was expelled from Beauxbatons School of Magic my third year, and they snapped my wand."
"How could you tell I was," Remus threw a cautious glance over his shoulder, "a wizard?"
Hugo smiled, a different one than from before, "I can feel it. We all can, really. You've just got to channel it."
Remus furrowed his eyebrows, "And how did you get expelled? Or why? Isn't it rather difficult to be—"
"Another time," Hugo urged, crossing one leg over the other lazily. "I want to hear about you. I'm sure you were wondering why I even considered hiring you based off of your lacking Muggle credentials."
Remus scratched the back of his neck, situating himself further away from Hugo once again, "I, erm, I suppose I did really well in school. Graduated top of my class. I was horrible at Potions, but my O.W.L. scores in Transfiguration and History of Magic were extremely high."
"What do you like to do," Hugo quickly intercepted the tangent of academics Remus was sure to shoot through, piercing the bubble of tension with honey, smooth voice. "I want to know about you. Why do you want to work with my team and me?"
No one had ever asked Remus about what he liked to do. They usually found out through experiences or dates, moments where they'd catch him with his head in another book or piecing together obscure historical documents. Most everyone considered it boring and lack luster, settling on James and Quidditch or Lily with her Ministry position. Even Regulus was a prodigy for a Potions Master. And what was Remus? Unemployed and quite dull.
"I'm afraid I'd disappoint you," Remus smiled dryly, casting his eyes to the ground.
"I don't think you could ever do that," Hugo whispered, just loud enough for Remus to catch.
His heart leapt into his throat. Maybe it would be alright to talk about the boring things first, and Hugo would learn to like it all?
"Poetry is by far one of the most captivating forms of writing," Remus finally said. "I love when people tell you something without directly telling you. Humans are just so interesting in that they'll do any and everything to avoid telling you what they really feel, even if it's just masked by pretty words and hard to decipher metaphors."
"Who's your favorite poet," Hugo asked, clearly invested in the conversation at hand.
"I couldn't just pick one," Remus finally made eye contact. "I'm a sap for romance poetry, the pain and hope that some people manage to uncover. Art also helps convey that."
"Well, aren't you just the starving artiste," Hugo laughed, taking a sip of his tea. "I''ve got a degree in art history; the majority of my library is comprised of paragraph after paragraph of men and women trying to feel something. It's quite depressing."
"Yes," Remus snickered. "I was quite often teased for my melancholy tastes."
With a glint in his eye, Hugo made this offer, "Why don't I show you my family's collection one day? I'd love to hear your thoughts."
Remus didn't know what to say or how to feel. In a matter of minutes, he and Hugo seemed to have developed energy. It was tantalizing and hot, leaving him breathless after each utterance. The way his heart skipped in his rib cage, the pushing of his lungs as they begged for cool air—it was agony but pleasant. It was the first time he'd felt anything in quite some time, and for it to be so fierce and resilient was almost overwhelming.
"Does that mean you're hiring me," Remus asked bashfully, unable to match Hugo's intense eye contact?
"Oh, Remus, you were hired the moment I laid eyes on you in the library," Hugo smirked.
REMINDER, THIS IS STILL WOLFSTAR, AND THIS IS PART OF THE PLOT I PROMISE. I KNOW IT ISN'T SIRIUS BUT THIS IS A HUGE POINT IN REMMY'S CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT SO TRUST ME BABIES!
I hope everyone is doing well this autumn morining/afternoon/evening. I am sorry for the lack of updates. I've been trying to think of where I wanted to take this, and I finally got some of it figured out enough to where I could update this book. I'm actively updating mischief managed (Carve Me Open), because I've submitted it in the fanfiction category for the Watty's and I want it to stand a chance. Also, it's very hard balancing adult life and writing, so please leave a vote or a comment. It brings me lots of joy to hear your feedback and to know you're enjoying it so far.
Sorry for the curt exit, but I'm at work, currently packing up to head to my class. I hope you all have an amazing day. Don't worry, Sirius is coming back soon, my shippers.